gordon stewart northcott

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Serial killer, Gordon Stewart Northcott, is classified as a ‘homosexual sadist’ by many criminologists. He claimed that he was sodomized by his father when he was 10 years old, and that this drove him to carry out his sadistic urges. For years, Northcott actually made money off these urges, kidnapping young boys and hiding them out on his ranch, and then renting his victims out to wealthy Southern California pedophiles. 

Assisted by his mother Sarah and a teenage nephew named Stanford Clark, Gordon Stewart Northcott made a business and pleasure from abducting children and holding them at his isolated ranch in Riverside County, California, for his own depraved purposes and those of unidentified clients from Los Angeles. The children were subsequently killed and their bodies buried in the surrounding desert. In February 1928, the headless body of a Mexican boy was found in a ditch near Puent. Less than two months later two brothers aged eight and ten went missing after being seen in the company of Northcott at a boys’ club. Enquiries made at the Northcott ranch revealed that he had already fled to Canada. Searching the grounds the police officers found the missing head of the Mexican child. Under close questioning the nephew Clark described how Northcott had sexually abused the two young brothers before beating them to death. Sarah Northcott had little option now but to confess her part in her son’s crimes, including actively participating in one of the murders. When police intelligence had tracked Gordon Northcott down and extradited him back to California he was charged with just three murders. Although it was  confidently believed that Northcott’s total body count was as many as twenty, no further remains were found. Sarah Northcott , for her part, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the nine-year-old Mexican, and Stanford Clark agreed to turn state’s evidence against his uncle. Gordon Northcott was sentenced to hang. While he was awaiting sentence on San Quentin’s Death Row, Northcott was taken ill, and firmly believing that he was about to die made a full confession to Assistant Warden Clinton Duffy. This statement, which Duffy described as a catalogue of mass murder, torture and sodomy was retained on his file when Northcott got over his far from fatal sickness. Gordon Northcott was executed on 2 October 1930.

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The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders 


In September 1928 the Los Angeles police department visited the Northcott Chicken Ranch in Wineville, California, to investigate claims that the owner, Gordon Stewart Northcott, was physically and sexually abusing his nephew, Sanford Clark. After taking Clark into custody, they heard a stream of horrific accounts of how Northcott had kidnapped, tortured, raped and killed several young boys on the ranch. Clark claimed that Northcott was aided by his mother, Sarah Louise Northcott, and they both forced Clark to participate and help dispose of the bodies. He said that the bodies were decomposed with quicklime and the bones buried in various areas of the farm and the nearby desert.

Police went back to the ranch to excavate areas pinpointed by Clark and unearthed ankle and finger bones within the soil, and a blood stained axe and hatchet that Clark claimed to have been used in the murders. Clothing and personal effects from the victims were also found.

It transpired that Northcott had kidnapped and molested an undetermined amount of young boys at the ranch, usually driving them back home after their ordeal. However, it seemed that Northcott developed a taste for torture and murder after he killed and decapitated a Mexican boy at the ranch. The murders of  two brothers, Lewis and Nelson Winslow, were also attributed to Northcott and his mother by the court, although Northcott originally confessed to more than five. 51 body parts were found in total on the ranch, but no complete remains were recovered for any of the victims. It is claimed that Northcott may have killed up to twenty boys at the farm but it was impossible for the authorities to confirm this number with the evidence found.


Sarah Louise Northcott was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 31, 1928. She did not get the death penalty due to her being female.

Gordon Stewart Northcott was sentenced to death, and was hanged on October 2, 1930, when he was only 23.

Sanford Clark carried out 23 months in a state reform school in a program to rehabilitate delinquent youths. He died aged 78 in 1991.

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It is believed that as many as 20 young boys lost their lives at the hands of Gordon Stewart Northcott on the infamous ‘Murder Farm’ in Riverside County, South Carolina.
From 1926, Northcott, with the assistance of his mother and nephew, would abduct boys, hide them on his farm and then rent them out to local pedophiles. When Northcott was done with his victims they were murdered and their flesh was then dissolved in quick lime. Northcott’s sadistic crimes went on until he was arrested in 1928.

Gordon Stewart Northcott was a Canadian born, sadistic serial killer, who murdered several young boys between 1926 and 1929.

Known as the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, Northcott kidnapped, sexualy abused, and bludgeoned at least three young boys at his Ranch. He was only caught after taking his nephew there, sodomizing him and beating him over the head until he lost consciousness. Northcott confessed to his nephew that he had done the same thing to his victims. His nephew ran home to tell his older sister about his ordeal, and she immediately called the police. 

Northcott was set to be hanged in 1930. His last words were “A prayer! Please say a prayer for me!